Government must guarantee fair trial to detained journalist Jaikhlong Brahma

Amnesty International India
India: 23 September 2014 12:16 pm

The Government of Assam must release Jaikhlong Brahma from administrative detention or charge him with recognizably criminal offences, and guarantee him a fair trial which meet international standards, Amnesty International India said today.

Journalist Jaikhlong Brahma has been detained since 2 September 2014 after being accused of having links with banned armed groups in Assam, India. He is at risk of being detained for 12 months without charge or trial under the National Security Act (NSA).

Journalists Jaikhlong Brahma and Rinoy Basamatury were arrested by police in Kokrajhar, Assam on 2 September on suspicion of criminal offences including multiple counts of conspiracy, being a member of an “unlawful association” and “inciting unlawful activities”. Rinoy Basamatury has since been released whileJaikhlong Brahma remains in detention without charge.

“The use of administrative detentions under the National Security Act, 1980 or any other legislation must end and all legislation that facilitates the use of administrative detention should be repealed,” said Shailesh Rai, Programs Director at Amnesty International India.

Jaikhlong Brahma was remanded in judicial custody by a local court for two weeks after his arrest on 2 September. A detention order under the NSA, which allows administrative detention for up to 12 months, was issued by the head of the local administration on 9 September. Jaikhlong Brahma continues to be in detention under the NSA. Administrative detention is a system that allows the authorities to detain individuals by executive order without charge or trial, and denies them the safeguards of a fair trial as required under international law.

The NSA detention order states that Jaikhlong Brahma “has been indulging in various types of violent activities with secessionist aims”. It also states that he maintained “personal link with the [outlawed] NDFB(S) [National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Songbijit faction)],” provoked and abetted the NDFB(S) to commit killings and arson, and accepted money from the group in exchange for producing and broadcasting video reports about it.

According to the NSA, a non-judicial Advisory Council must submit a report to the Assam authorities with its opinion on whether there is sufficient cause to continue detaining Jaikhlong Brahma within seven weeks of the start of his detention. Based on that report, the state authorities may continue to detain him for up to one year without charge or trial.

The Kokrajhar Press Club has issued a statement refuting the allegations against Jaikhlong Brahma, and stated that his wife is also facing harassment from the local police. In a letter to the Deputy Commissioner of Kokrajhar, they stated that journalists in Kokrajhar are being targeted by police.

The government should take all necessary measures to guarantee that journalists are able to carry out their activities without fear of harassment or arbitrary detention.

For more information please contact:

Nazia Erum
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 9606187741